Amid speculation about whether Israel would ease its blockade of Gaza as part of a deal to normalize ties with Turkey, one government official said Saturday that Jerusalem has already significantly increased the quantity of goods allowed into the Gaza Strip in recent months.
The Istanbul-based Daily Sabah, affiliated with the ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP] of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reported on Saturday that Israel had agreed to ease the blockade.
On Thursday, the Prime Minister’s Office said understandings between Israel and Turkey had been reached during secret meetings in Switzerland that would allow for a reconciliation between the two countries.
Erdogan has consistently put forward three demands for a normalization of ties: an Israeli apology for the 2010 Mavi Marmara incident; a compensation package for the families of those killed on the Marmara; and a lifting of the blockade of Gaza.
Netanyahu issued an apology in 2013, at US President Barack Obama’s urging, for “any error that may have led to the loss of life.” The sides have reportedly reached agreement on the establishment of a fund of $20 million for the families.
But there was no mention in the PMO statement on Thursday of the Gaza blockade issue, though Israeli officials have said repeatedly that Israel will not lift the maritime blockade and allow cargo into Gaza without security checks.
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